DIY ADA 60P Cabinet Build

lazybones51

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18 May 2017
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Northamptonshire
This guide is how I went about building an ADA style cabinet for an ADA 60P aquarium.

I started using these plans that I found elsewhere on UKAPS
P60_1.jpg

P60_2.jpg


I took these down to my local B&Q store, picked up a full size (2440 x 1220 x 18) sheet of 18mm thick MDF and headed straight to cutting service. I explained to the person manning the saw what I was building and handed over the plans. 10 minutes later I had all of the parts perfectly cut ready to go, along with the off cuts.
IMG_20191023_110235502.jpg


For assembly I purchased a box of MDF screws, wood glue and wood filler from a local branch of Toolstation. All screw holes were pre-drilled and countersunk. All edges were glued before screwing the panels together. Glueing may not have been necessary, however for the cost of a bottle of wood glue I felt it was worth doing.

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Test fitting the top to make sure the door was going to fit as expected. The person manning the wood saw had cut the sides and back panel 10mm too long... this wasn't too much of an issue, it just meant I was going to have slightly large door gaps top and bottom than planned. I could have got a slightly longer door cut if I decided it didn't look right at the end of assembly.
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All screw holes were then filled with wood filler. Once dry the filler was sanded back using 400 grit paper, leaving a lovely smooth finish.
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I decided to give the whole cabinet several coats of MDF sealer (again purchased from Toolstation) to add a layer of protection against moisture. Once the MDF sealer was dry, it left a slight sheen to the surface.
IMG_20191027_162352487.jpg



At this point I made a slight deviation from the original plans. Knowing this was going to be a high tech tank, I knew I was going to be pushed for space inside the cabinet. Using some of the MDF off cuts, I decided to add a small shelf along the back panel. This was deep enough to be useful, but shallow enough not to be in the way.
IMG_20191110_143717080.jpg


Above you can see the cut out for the power cables through the rear panel, this was done using a hole saw.
Below you can see the cut out for the water hoses. To create this oval shaped cut out I drilled a hole top and bottom using a hole saw, then joined them together using a power file.

IMG_20191110_183301601.jpg


Next up was the MDF/Wood primer. This probably wasn't necessary, however I had some in the garage going spare so I gave it a good coating. I think it had two or three coats, sanding between each coat to get a glass smooth finish. I also trial fitted the door at this point.

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The door was removed and finished off being primed. I then moved on to the final top coats of paint. I used the B&Q paint match service as I wanted to match the rest of our furniture. I opted to use their Valspar premium v700 paint, I think it was a satin or mid sheen finish. I have used this Valspar paint a lot and knew it would stand up to wear and tear.
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All finished and ready to go! (I forgot to put a mat under the tank for this final photo)
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The only change I made was adding some adjustable feet. It was only after filling with water and the tank settling it became apparent that the floor under our carpet isn't level in the slightest.

I hope this is of use to other people thinking of creating their own cabinet.
 

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Deano3

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8 Feb 2012
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Amazing job there i am going to copy your plans as wanting to buy a 60p also love the shelf as can be used for dosing bottles etc.

My 45p i used ply but mdf of my last stand was much much easier to work with and never had any isues.great job and thanks for sharing.

Dean

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I was weary of using MDF as the mass produced stand from my previous tank has started to swell from minor spills. I'm hoping the time I put in to sealing this will put a stop to such swelling.
This is the problem with standard MDF. I believe you can get a water resistant version but not sure how readily available it is.
 
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Can I just say it’s very easy to split MDF if you don’t pre-drill and use the right type of screws. A guy at work didn’t do this and got lots of splits in a toy box he was making. As an alternative you could screw through the sides of the MDF panels into hardwood battens inside the cabinet. If you used glue as well it would provide a much stronger joint and you would never see it at the top of the cabinet. It would be visible at the bottom edges though but obviously only when the door is open!

https://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/best-practices-guide/solid-wood-machining/why-cant-i-screw-mdf
 

lazybones51

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Messages
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Can I just say it’s very easy to split MDF if you don’t pre-drill and use the right type of screws. A guy at work didn’t do this and got lots of splits in a toy box he was making. As an alternative you could screw through the sides of the MDF panels into hardwood battens inside the cabinet. If you used glue as well it would provide a much stronger joint and you would never see it at the top of the cabinet. It would be visible at the bottom edges though but obviously only when the door is open!

https://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/best-practices-guide/solid-wood-machining/why-cant-i-screw-mdf
I pre-drilled all of the holes and used the correct MDF screws.

@Richard40 I'll pop out to the garage some time today and find the box of screws I used.
 

Richard40

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Perfect, so I could buy the screws, primer etc all from toolstation and paint from b and q. A plans coming together, are you happy with yours?
 

lazybones51

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Messages
177
Location
Northamptonshire
Perfect, so I could buy the screws, primer etc all from toolstation and paint from b and q. A plans coming together, are you happy with yours?
Yeah I'm really happy with it. Just make sure you add adjustable feet, as I didn't initially and it wasn't much fun adding them after the tank was setup haha. These are the feet I used from IKEA.
 
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I’ve got a thing about wood screws ever since I went to Canada. The most widely used over there seem to be Robertson Square drive. As a result I’ve only ever bought square or Torx drive screws over the past 20 years. I’ve always disliked pozidrive and Phillips screws. I also like Spax screws.

https://www.axminster.co.uk/spax-t-star-mdf-screws-wirox-csk-partial-thread-ax1028644

Screwfix and Wickes also sell them. Good luck with the build.
 
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